North Fork voters are fortunate to have two strong candidates vying to fill the Assembly seat vacated by Daniel Losquadro. Democrat John McManmon, 28, of Jamesport, has taken a leave of absence from a New York City law firm to campaign; he says he will resign his job if he is elected. Republican Anthony Palumbo, 43, of New Suffolk, is a former Suffolk County assistant district attorney now in private practice in Mattituck.

The candidates differ little on issues that matter to East End residents. Both favor using state tax credits to attract businesses to the soon-to-be-developed Enterprise Park at Calverton, which is owned by the Town of Riverhead. Both stress the importance of protecting Long Island's drinking water, though McManmon seems more willing to take on farmers on the issue of nitrogen runoff. Both say the North Fork's deer population must be reduced; Palumbo is more emphatic about using a straight kill option to do that. And both agree it's time to end the culture of corruption in Albany. McManmon supports legislation that would require legislators to disclose their client lists, while Palumbo emphasizes taking away the pensions of those convicted on corruption charges.

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There is a place in public service for both candidates and we hope each will pursue that. But in a race that features agreement on most issues, the difference is this: In the Democratic-dominated Assembly, McManmon would be in a better position to deliver for his constituents.

Newsday endorses McManmon.